There’s no worse feeling than leaving your pup behind at home. You have to leave them to go to work. You have to leave them to go out to eat.
Why should you have to leave them to go shopping too? Luckily, society is becoming increasingly dog friendly. Bringing your dog along with you to the store can have a ton of benefits for you and your pet.
Socializing your dog by bringing them along on a shopping trip will improve their quality of life and yours. Dogs need to know how to function around people. If you ever plan to bring them to potentially crowded places, trips to the store are a great way to prepare them.
Spending extra time with your pooch is another great benefit of having them accompany you to the store. Having a dog often feels overwhelming when you’re not able to spend enough quality time together. A trip to the store can provide you both with some much-needed quality time together.
We put together this guide to help you learn what stores allow dogs. Follow these tips to ensure the trip goes smoothly for you and your pet.
Choose the Right Time and the Right Place for Your Dog
If this is the first time you’re taking your pup out to a store with you, you may want to start small. Tight spaces and loud noises might make your dog feel nervous.
Consider a store that has wide isles. Keep noise levels and crowds in mind when you decide to make your first trip with your dog. This will help them acclimate to being out in public.
Choose a time and a place that won’t be crowded or overwhelming for your dog. A big box store early in the morning should be calm and quiet. As they get more comfortable in public, you can branch out to new stores.
Take into consideration your dog’s personality when you decide which stores to bring them into. If you have a loud, boisterous pup, then a bookstore may not be a good match. Similarly, if your dog is extra shy, a bustling mall will probably make them feel uncomfortable.
If you do decide to take your dog into a store, set your pet up for success. Check their collar or harness to make sure it fits properly. Use a leash that keeps them close by your side.
Check Pet Policies Before You Go
It shouldn’t be surprising that different stores will have different pet policies. Most stores will have their pet policy listed on their websites. When you’re checking pet policies online, make sure that you look at specific locations to learn what stores allow dogs.
Sometimes information like pet policies is hard to find. If you’ve looked for the information but can’t find it, don’t be afraid to give the store a call. Most stores will have a customer service line that can provide you with all of the information you need.
If you find yourself on an impromptu trip with your pup, check for signage outside before you bring your dog in. If there’s no sign, then walk in with your pet. Look for an employee and ask about their pet policy before you start shopping.
If you happen to walk into a store with your dog and are asked to leave, don’t argue with the manager. Unless your dog is a certified service dog, all businesses have the right to deny your animal. Emotional support animals are not protected by the ADA like service animals are.
List of Pet-Friendly Retail Stores 2022
Store policies are ever-changing. If the store you are visiting is a chain, then the pet policies may actually vary from store to store. We made this list of some of the most well-known pet-friendly places you can shop with your pet.
Tractor Supply has historically been a great choice for shopping with your dog. This store caters to animals of all types, so don’t be surprised to run into poultry inside or livestock outside. Tractor Supply allows all breeds and sizes of dogs in their stores.
Your pup will need to be leashed and well-behaved.
If you’ve ever shopped at a Home Depot before, you’ve probably seen customers roaming around with their pets. Home Depot has a welcoming pet policy assuming your pet is leashed and friendly. Keep in mind that you may encounter heavy equipment that could be intimidating for a dog that isn’t too familiar with trips to stores.
It may surprise you to see this luxury retailer make our list. Nordstrom has one of the most dog-friendly policies out of any of the stores we researched. Their social media even has a specific hashtag to show off your furry friends while you’re shopping.
All Norstrom requires is that your pup is leashed and doesn’t disturb other customers.
Cabelas / BassPro Shops
This store for all things outdoors welcomes dogs of all sizes. Cabela’s knows that your pets will likely join you on your outdoor treks. That’s why they don’t have a problem with your pets joining you in the store.
All they ask is that your dog is leashed and not disruptive. They even host special days where your dog can come in a receive a VIP shopping experience. Check their websites for details.
Similar to Home Depot, Lowes has a liberal pet policy. Their website doesn’t explicitly state that pets are allowed, so you may want to call your local store before heading out with your pup. Hardware stores are usually home to loud noises.
Keep that in mind when you’re deciding if Lowes is the right place to bring your pet.
Target is another store that lacks clear information on their pet policy when you access their website. But, it’s not uncommon to shop at Target and see pets walking with their owners or riding in carts. Try to contact your store before you show up, or ask a manager for clarity when you arrive.
Bed Bath and Beyond
What could be more fun than roaming isles full of fluffy towels with your loyal dog? Luckily for you, Bed Bath and Beyond makes that possible. Their pet policy only asks that you keep your pets tethered with a leash, and don’t let them interact with any products.
Now your pooch can help you pick out linens and scented candles!
Barnes and Noble
There’s something particularly relaxing about the idea of browsing through books with your four-legged friend. Barnes and Noble has a lax pet policy that allows your dog to join you while you pick out a new book. Their pet policy does not extend to any café that may be located inside the store.
Another luxury clothing that welcomes furry friends is Bloomingdales. Like most of the other stores on our list, they only ask that you keep your pet on a leash. Bloomingdales has a large open layout and is usually very quiet inside.
This could be a great place to introduce your dog to stores.
The Gap has a pet-friendly policy, as do a few of its sister stores, like Old Navy and Madewell. While you’re shopping for your new pair of jeans, your dog will need to be leashed and remain by your side. Gap stores can have a crowded layout and often play loud music, so make sure your dog will be comfortable in that environment before you bring them in.
Pottery Barn proudly welcomes dogs of any size according to their website. They do require that your pet be leashed and stay close to you throughout your shopping trip. This might be the perfect opportunity to take Fido shopping for new patio furniture.
After all, he’ll probably be using it more often than you!
Get Shopping With Your Pup
Now that you know what stores allow dogs, it’s time to take your furry friend out on a few shopping trips! Try to stick to stores where you know your dog will be most comfortable.
Once your dog has mastered the art of shopping in calmer stores, you can venture into more crowded spaces together. Start slowly and work your way up. A great place to start is in pet stores.
It’s always a good rule of thumb to make sure your dog has used the bathroom before entering any store with them. You don’t want to end up with an uncomfortable pup or a mess. Don’t forget to bring bags to pick up any accidents your dog may leave in the store.
If your dog does make a mistake while on your shopping trip, don’t react negatively. A negative reaction could create a bad association of public spaces for your dog. Calmly handle any mishaps and reward your dog consistently for good behavior.
Remember that if you are ever in doubt about a store’s pet policy, search online or call the store to get clarity before you bring your dog in.